c.1913 FN 498cc Four
Frame no. 50361
Engine no. 1140
Like BSA, La Fabrique Nationale d'Armes de Guerre ('FN', for short) began as a munitions manufacturer, turning to the production of motorcycles in 1900. Today the Belgian company is best remembered for its sensational four-cylinder models, the first of which appeared in 1904 and was first exhibited publicly at the 1905 Paris Cycle Show. Designed by Paul Kelecom, the FN was the world's first practical four-cylinder motorcycle, its smooth and almost vibration-less operation setting it apart from rival singles and v-twins. Advanced for its day, the 362cc air-cooled four featured 'atmospheric' inlet and mechanical (side) exhaust valves and a robust five-bearing crankshaft. Shaft final drive was another innovation. At first there was no clutch, the direct-drive machine being started by pedalling away until the engine fired. Two brakes (drum and rim-type) operated on the rear wheel. The engine was enlarged (to 413cc) in 1906 and again around 1908, on this occasion to 498cc, while in 1911 the factory introduced its own two-speed transmission, similar to that already offered by Horstmann in Britain, which was contained within the drive-shaft housing. This partly restored FN Four was purchased by the current owner in Argentina in 2009 (EU taxes have been paid). Parts restored include the wheels and brightwork but there are some components missing and the machine does not run. Sold strictly as viewed, it comes with current Belgian and old Argentinian registration papers.
- There are no old Argentinian registration papers with this lot.